Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More buzzkill

One of my favorite feminists, Katha Pollitt, recently mused on the advantages of social democratic systems in Europe and why Americans seem to reject such nice things as paid parental leave and public child care. The column, called "It's Better Over There," tips its hat to a new book, Tom Geoghegan's Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?

As a matter of fact, I sometimes think so - and not just because, like, my parents immigrated here from South Korea.

Here is what Pollitt says:

Still, it is hard to understand why Americans fight so hard against the nanny state, which provides so many good things.... My theory is more primitive: a critical mass of white Americans would rather not have something than see black and Latino Americans get it too. No matter how often progressives point out that most welfare mothers, and most poor people, are white, Big Government means the hard-working white taxpayer heaping largesse on shiftless people of color. The Tea Party movement suggests that trope is alive and well. In the twenty-first century, the problem is—still—the color line.

It hurts because it feels true.

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